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December 6, 2019 —

A game-changing reading list for creative business owners

Jessica Rose Williams shares her top five business books that will transform how you run your small independent business
Jessica Rose Williams
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We absolutely love being able to share knowledge and advice with fellow small business owners and not only did our Creative Sessions launch earlier this week, today we have Jessica Rose Williams sharing her top five business books that will transform how you work in 2020! I know I’ll be adding these to my Christmas wish list, what about you?

Best business books for creative small businesses

I’ve read so many business books I’ve lost count. Some have left my head in a spin, others had me running for the hills because they felt so overwhelming and then there were the ones that felt like a thoughtful friend giving me the advice I needed to hear. I’ve taken plenty of online courses on my own creative business journey, but truly (first hand learning aside) I feel as though books have taught me the most.

With more books out there than we could ever possibly read in a lifetime (hello book FOMO), it can be hard to know where to start. The traditional corporate books can feel like a foreign language to creatives but on the other side of this genre is a host of inspiring reads that are actually useful to the way we like to do business.

I’m a big believer in the notion that reading the right thing at the right time can change your entire life. Needless to say I’m a huge advocate for reading – even if it’s just one page a day. If you think you don’t have time to read on top of everything else you’ve got to do – audiobooks are your friend. I listen to books while I’m driving, walking, running or doing the cleaning, sometimes at 1.25 speed so I can fit a few more in.

As such, here are five creative business books I think are worth adding to your reading list. These are the books that have inspired me in my business and helped me the most. So, as a fellow creative business owner, I believe you might find them useful too.

the best creative business books

Show your work by Austin Kleon – if you struggle to muster the courage to put yourself and your creative work out into the world then this illustrated guide will hold your hand and give you a boost tonic. This is a quick pocket-sized read so it’s ideal for anyone who’s time poor. After reading this book I found myself unashamedly sharing my work with great results. I no longer winced at the idea of self-promotion as I had a cringe-free guide to help me step by step. This is a treasured book I find myself coming back to again and again.

Company of one by Paul Jarvis – this is an urgent book in a world of grow, grow and grow. Paul questions the value of growth for growth’s sake and challenges our programmed mindset of bigger is better in a truly compelling way. He’s also incredibly generous with his own creative business knowledge. You can tell he’s giving it all away with genuine intention of helping those a few steps behind. If you crave a simple business that can still support you financially, this is a brilliant in-depth guide to growing without expanding unnecessarily. My weekly to-do list condensed instantly after reading this.

Perennial Seller by Ryan Holiday – As creatives we can feel as though we must create new and exciting products constantly to keep up with our peers. Ryan suggests an alternative more sustainable approach to creation and marketing. This book will give you sound product creation and spam free marketing guidance with a view of creating timeless products just once. I felt relieved after reading this book because the creation process was no longer as daunting to me. It inspired my how to build a year round capsule wardrobe ebook which was designed to never go out of style. It’s a great read for anyone who feels as though they can’t keep up with the pace of the online creative business world.

The science of storytelling by Will Storr – an unusual choice but if you’re in creative business then you’re in the business of storytelling. As humans, consumers and creators we are bound by the art of storytelling. It’s an art we would all benefit from mastering and I predict we’ll be hearing a lot of advice about ‘storytelling’ as businesses in 2020. This book is intended for budding novelists or screenwriters but it’s helped me take better photos, craft more engaging Instagram captions and even write better tweets. All thanks to knowing how to craft a story that captures people’s attention. This is a great book for anyone who wants to connect with their audience in a deep and meaningful way but perhaps is struggling.

Essentialism by Greg McKeown – this is my favourite book of them all. It’s so much more than a business book – it’s like a life guide but I guarantee you it’ll leave you with a lot less on your to do list. From learning to say no to questioning what would happen if we didn’t do things, this book is a must read for any business owner who feels like there aren’t enough hours in the day. I feel like my entire approach to business and work is built on this book and as much as I love to declutter, it’s one I’m never letting go of.

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